Why Sprints Must Be Short
Most agile marketers use two-week sprints. Do you have to? No. Your sprints could be a week. Or even a month. But they shouldn’t be longer than a month. Why? Because the longer you make your sprints, the more you start edging over into the problems of waterfall—where you need to have a long planning exercise before you actually start doing anything.
Because the sprint is just a couple of weeks long, eventually the team becomes skilled at estimating how much they can accomplish in that amount of time—and they usually meet their goals. Think about how much harder it is to determine how long a big project will take—nine months? A year? How good are you at estimating what you will get done in the next year? Short projects are just easier to plan.
The other reason to keep sprints short is because—well—most of us marketers have the focus of squirrel. Just when we’ve told everyone that we’ve figured out the next big idea—“Look! Acorn!” and then we forget what we just said.
So, for us, it’s really hard to even shut up and wait for two weeks for last week’s number one, top-of-list, mission-critical priority to be completed. We can’t wait three months without redirecting the team.
So, when you make your sprints longer than a month, you suddenly want a “change control process” because you’ll have several mid-course corrections that can’t wait for the end of the quarter. With two-week sprints, you’ll never need to bite your tongue for more than about ten days, which most of us can handle.
NEXT–the faster your test, the faster you’ll get to your goal.